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Antwerp, Belgium
Welcome to the new, and improved version of Heaven in Belgium. I am Jientje. "Jientje", like the boys name Gene, followed by "chu"? "Gene-chu", that's how you pronounce my name. Yes!!!!That's it!! So now you know huh? I am an addicted blogger. I was born and raised and am still living in Belgium. Yeah, the "this-is- Tuesday-so-this-must-be-Brussels" kind of Belgium .. There, you see? Maybe you couldn't find it on the map, but at least I'm trying to change that a little by sharing lots of pictures. I really love to cook and create new things, like this blog for instance. I am a mother, not a grandmother,I don't know if I'll ever be, but I'll let you know in due time! Oh and um ... I am a wife too! They say I'm a traveler, and a photographer. Well that's just what they say, I love to make pictures, but I am far from professional ... If my English is not perfect, that would be because it's my second language. I do hope you'll forgive me any possible misspellings or strange vocabulary ... Now, as a result of all of the above, I get way too little sleep and my days are always much too short!

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Heaven is in Belgium

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Boxing Day, and Family Traditions


Today, the day after Christmas is commonly known as Boxing Day, or St Stephens day. Unlike in England, Germany, Australia and new Zealand, Boxing Day is not an official holiday in Belgium.

I used to think they named it Boxing Day because it was the day Christmas gifts were exchanged and opened, but a little bit of research told me there is more than one meaning to “ Boxing Day”.

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The name Boxing Day derives from the tradition of giving seasonal gifts, on the day after Christmas, to less wealthy people and social inferiors, which was later extended to various workpeople such as laborers and servants.

The first is that centuries ago, on the day after Christmas, members of the merchant class would give boxes containing food and fruit, clothing, and/or money to trades people and servants. The gifts were an expression of gratitude much like when people receive bonuses, from their employer, for a job well done, today. These gifts, given in boxes, gave the holiday it's name, "Boxing Day".

The second thought is that Boxing Day comes from the tradition of opening the alms boxes placed in churches over the Christmas season. The contents thereof which were distributed amongst the poor, by the clergy, the day after Christmas. ( Source: Wikipedia)

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Gifts and presents are part of the Christmas fun I suppose. My fun began a couple of days before Christmas gift wrapping everybody’s presents. I always try to put some creativity into that, and this year I cut up old Christmas cards and used them to make labels for my gifts.


We had loads of presents this year…

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I mean … LOADS!!


Some of them, were HUGE!


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Each person gets to pick a present for somebody else.
( That’s when the labels come in handy)

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and opens it …

The rules are that everybody gets to see what he/she got before we move on to the next gift.

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Some of the gifts even had a poem to be read before opening …

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Some had to be fitted.

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Sometimes instruction manuals had to be read.

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Some even needed to be tested!
Ummm … NO we DO NOT DO DRUGS if that’s what you’re thinking!!

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Everything had to either be looked at …



… or sniffed at …

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and thanked for.

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All the while the paparazzi sisters kept their fingers on the trigger shutter.

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It took us over four hours to get through them this year! ROFL!!

16 comments:

hip chick said...

It looks like you had a wonderful time!

Wanda said...

I just experienced another Wonderful Christmas while viewing your photos Jientje, I felt a sense of joy come through, Thank you so much!...Wanda

Jientje said...

@ Hip Chick: We did!
@ Wanda: I know how it feels. I get the same feeling every time I visit your blog!

moneythoughts said...

Like Wanda, I got to experience Christmas with your family too. Thank you for sharing your family and pictures with us.

Jientje said...

@ Moneythoughts: You're welcome. Merry Christmas Fred!

The French Bear said...

wonderful, I love to do the one gift at a time too. we have always kept it to a minimum, so the children will learn to appreciate what they receive.
I like the box of thank you for the explanation of Boxing Day, maybe my boss could learn that one!!!!
I loved your pictures, I felt like I was there, you did a great job wrapping too, I love that part!!!
Hugs,
Margaret B

Jientje said...

@ The French Bear: I remember how wonderful it was to get such a box at work when I still worked. We were all more than thrilled to dig into the box and discover all the goodies inside!

VioletSky said...

Looks like a fun time, Jientje!
I also like the opening of gifts one at a time - we used to it the same way you do, but somehow that fell by the wayside and now it is a freeforall, and I always feel I missed something.
Now, off to enjoy our family Christmas where we have more food than presents!

Anonymous said...

It was a marvelous day. We all enjoyed! And the presents were all great!!
Your sister Lena.

Betty said...

It looks like you had an awesome time! I love your pictures!! Thanks for letting us share these moments. I think your tradition is so great, that you SLOWLY unpack. I love it!!

Willow said...

We also open one gift at a time and enjoy each moment! Even with a toddler around to receive most of the gifts, I don't think we'll take four hours this year!

Bientje said...

I enjoyed choosing, buying and wrapping the gifts and even more enjoyed the four hours opening them!
It was FUN! And absolutely no bloopers this year! The presents were all very well chosen.
Big hug,
Your little sister

Jientje said...

@ VioletSky : It was. I hope you and your family enjoy yourselves just as much!
@ Lena: I agree, and I'm glad you liked your presents!
@ Betty : Thank you! We enjoyed every minute of it!
@ Willow: Most of our birthdays are in the Fall, so we did have to catch up on some birthdays as well. That accounts for the huge amount.
@ Bientje : So did I and I'm glad you like what I picked for you and the kids. I'm looking forward to see some cookie baking pictures?

Thom said...

I want to wish you and hope that you and your family had a wonderful Christmas. I know I haven't been around much...hopefully that will change. I hope you are doing well and I wish you a very Happy 2010

Jientje said...

@ Thom: Thank you Thom. A merry Christmas and a happy 2010 to you too.

lisaschaos said...

Sounds like great fun! I bet it's hard for the kids to be patient.

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